Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Information

The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Globalization - an Example Involving Asian Consumers

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Information

The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Globalization - an Example Involving Asian Consumers

Article excerpt


The practice of proactive social responsibility is a trend among the leading international firms [Hsu et al., 2011]. Yu and Chen [2014] proposed a corporate environmental responsibility framework inferred from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports issued by leading Taiwanese high-technology electronic firms with international levels of technology. Asian consumers demand a great extent of social responsibility from businesses [Ramasamy et al., 2010], and Chinese consumers who are fully aware of and trust CSR are likely to transform a favorable CSR record into a positive corporate evaluation, product association, and purchasing intention [Tian et al., 2011].

Therefore, in light of the perspectives of institutional theory introduced by Selznick [1949] and open system theory proposed by Meyer and Rowan [1977] and DiMaggio and Powell [1983], contemporary companies should commit to society, environment, and consumer health through CSR [Chen and Lin, 2011] regardless of their size [Lamberti and Noci, 2012]. According to Lin and Chen [2006], country-of-origin (COO) under the trend of globalization plays a vital role in consumer purchasing decisions. Verlegh and Steenkamp [1999] indicated, however, that consumers may insufficiently pay attention to the manufacturing countries or sites of products because of the rise of global information search and multi-national production. From a marketing perspective, consumers may fail to identify similar qualities with the same brand when faced with products manufactured in various circumstances by different workers using diverse technologies. Therefore, whether the COO image affects consumer purchasing intensions is debatable, and these issues should be clarified because the concept of CSR prevails in society.

Globalization has motivated international enterprises to seek favorable manufacturing sites overseas. The selection of these sites may deeply influence the consumers' general evaluation of products and their purchasing behavior. The most common evaluation indicators are country-of-brand (COB) and country-of-manufacture (COM) [Ahmed and Astous, 1996]. Furthermore, CSR is an effective means for firms to create favorable attitudes among their consumers [Groza et al.., 2011]. However, the CSR of a particular firm in Asia failed in September 2008 when the San-lu Group sold tainted milk powder containing melamine to other countries. Similarly, the CSR of a firm in Taiwan failed in 2015 when poison was used in human food products. Communities worldwide were shocked by these occurrences, and consumer health was severely affected.

Brand awareness, which is one of the numerous product classifications in consumers' minds, is the main factor that affects consumers when they evaluate or purchase a product [Hoyer and Brown, 1990] and make purchasing decisions [Keller, 1993]. The literature of COO images claims that brands are an important explicit clue [Saeed, 1994; Lee et al., 2014], and that COO images not only increase the brand equity of products [Shocker et al., 1994] but also affect product evaluation more than prices and brand information do. This influence is particularly evident when product awareness is low [Wall et al., 1991]. However, Ahmed and Astous [1993] maintained that brands greatly influence the perceived value of products when consumers make purchasing decisions, followed by COO images and price. Han and Terpstra [1988] showed that COM images exert a greater influence than brand name when consumers evaluate product qualities. Thus, given the trend toward globalization, the purchasing decisions of consumers regarding hybrid products are affected by COO images and brand awareness.

The studies of Lin and Chen [2006], Lin and Shang [2010], Lee and Lee [2011], Parkvithee and Miranda [2012], and Yu et al. [2013] on the effect of COO, brand, and consumer purchasing intentions do not account for CSR failures. Thus, whether consumer purchasing intentions toward hybrid products can be influenced by CSR failures remain unaddressed. …

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